Arsene Wenger believes keeping Arsenal in the top four of the Premier League over the last nine-years could be his proudest achievement in management.
The Arsenal manager has had to work off of a heavily restricted budget since the club relocated to the world-class Emirates Stadium in 2006. The self-financed move meant Wenger was forced to sell star players to rivals and saw the funds go straight into paying back loans instead of reinvesting in the team.
As a result, Arsenal were rendered uncompetitive in the race for major titles and haven't added to their trophy cabinet since winning the FA Cup in 2005. It means that Wenger's entire honours list at Arsenal has come in the first half of his managerial stint.
Having won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in the first half, it looks to be the more impressive. However, Wenger says that keeping Arsenal in the Champions League despite the restricted budget could well turn out to be his proudest achievement.
"I was part of the initial process to build the stadium and push the club to do it," Wenger told reporters.
"So I felt that part of my responsibility is to push the club through that difficult period as much as I could.
"I knew from the start that financial viability was linked with us being in the Champions League.
"So you can imagine how much I did sweat for years in the last three months of the season.
"It was maybe not the most prolific period on the trophy side. But maybe one day I will look back on that and that will be the period I will be most proud of."
Wenger takes charge of his 1000th Arsenal game against Chelsea tomorrow in what could be a title deciding match. Wenger has never beaten Blues boss Jose Mourinho in a competitive fixture but tomorrow is a perfect chance to break his personal drought against the Special One.
Arsenal also look likely to break their trophy drought this season. They are heavy favourites for the FA Cup, facing holders Wigan in the semi-final next month.
They also remain dark horses for the Premier League title race but must avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge to maintain a realistic chance of taking home their first title in a decade.
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